This video shows the addiction rates in Florida and how easy the “pain management” centers are making access in Florida.  What I found interesting is the mother of imageone son shows the bags, everything he was able to get and compares her bag of 30 Vicodin tablets she was given to take after major surgery. 

In Broward county they don’t have a data base that tracks the drugs, thus many of the pain management stores locate there.  It sounds like they need a data base set up soon as “doctor shopping” is simple and easy.  One of the patients talks about going to 5 doctors to get his medications.  The advertising for pain medications is all over the newspapers too.  85% of the Oxycontin dispensed in the US comes from Florida. 

The video actually goes with an addict to watch and see how easy it is for addicts to visit the clinics to get medications although the wait time might be a while as the waiting rooms are crowded.  One patient gets his medication from a 70 year old woman who is selling OxyContin.  This is a fairly long video to watch the entire process.  One clinic actually had security guards outside and the parking lots were full. 

When filming the documentary the owners of one clinic actually follow the filming crew with their cars and they had to call the police.  One of the cars was registered to the owner of the clinic who had already served time for trafficking opium products.  The clinics are a “cash” business.  People are driving from other states to Brower County to get their pills, like one example was a patient from Kentucky and another from Ohio. 


There are legitimate “pain management” physician practices but these clinics are not that.  Kentucky is leading the nation for “Hillbilly Heroin” in other words Oxycontin and the doctors in the ER room can name the physicians they have never met but see the names on the prescription bottles from the doctors in Florida when over dose patients come in.  Xanax seems to be prescribed along with the Oxycontin too. 

The film crew visits a group of “Pillbilly” women, in prison for possession or distributing Oxycontin.  The sheriff in a Kentucky town talks about his war and how he’s working to help clean up some of the abuse.  Many of the clinics do not use computerized records for obvious reasons, no records of the transactions.  This is one are where electronic medical records are not a priority for all the wrong reasons.  The sad thing is that it is easier to get the patients reselling the pills than to catch the doctors and clinics prescribing the pills. 

There is a new law in Broward County that goes into effect at the end of 2010 to establish a data base to check for doctor shoppers.  This is a huge example of where data and technology are needed but sometimes budgets and those in office don’t embrace technology and this is the sad outcome as that data base could have been established a while back, we have one in California. 

As a footnote, the company that manufacturers Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma just received FDA approval this week for a patch that uses transdermal systems to deliver pain medication instead of pills.  BD

Purdue Pharma Receives FDA Approval for Butrans™ Transdermal System For Severe Pain Management

In this Peabody Award-winning edition of Vanguard, correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to South Florida--the "Colombia of prescription drugs"--to expose a bustling pill pipeline that stretches from the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale to the rolling hills of Appalachia. "The OxyContin Express" features intimate access with pill addicts, prisoners and law enforcement as each struggles with a lethal national epidemic.


***Vanguard is Current TV's original documentary series. Led by correspondents Laura Ling, Mariana van Zeller, Christof Putzel, Adam Yamaguchi and Kaj Larsen, Vanguard features enterprising reports from around the globe. It airs every Wednesday at 10pm on Current TV. And you can view all Vanguard stories by visiting***


  1. it's Broward county not Brower

  2. Thank you, fixed it, and when one writes and tries to cover so much as I do as one individual I do mess up here and there so reader proof reads are always welcome by all means!

  3. What really pisses me off is that these people are really taking something that people with legitimate pain and cancer and making it everyone else fault but there own. I watched this show and as a parent, I cannot not even imagine the immense pain that these parents are going through, however apparently, most knew what was happening BEFORE their children overdosed on these meds. I know first hand what the benefits as well as the dangers are of Oxycontin as well as other pain meds. I have a severe back injury that will never get any better. You have to take responsibility of your own actions. In today's world, someone is always wanting to blame someone else, or sue someone. I mean, a gun store will sell ammunition to anyone including people that kill other people, or people that will put a gun to their own head. Come on America, let's face the facts and start at home! As I said, I was on Oxycontin for about 2 years and I realized what was happening, so I pulled myself off of it. There are too many people that are benefiting from this and the other meds that these people are abusing!

  4. What they need to do is go after these doctors and put them in jail, not just a slap on the wrist and these pharma compaines, what the heck, they know that the uneducated and desperate people are they ones to go after. They become rich and the rest become addicted. And on top of that desperate people are out there hooked and killing or hurting people, round up the doctors and fill up our prison with the real killers of the world....! Kind of like hookers, and porn it's all available around us for sale and guess who gets the Johns that are addicted...come on world, wake up!

  5. I am a chronic pain patient here in Florida and have been for over 22 years because my workers compensation carrier refuses to provide the multiple surgeries on my neck to help stop my pain. As an ex-insurance adjuster I am appalled at the change of laws protectingn the insurance carriers, their doctors, etc.. from any bad faith law suits from people like me who suffered a minor auto accident who still does not get the medical care promised by the WC contract and State Laws because their is no punishment for not upholding the laws. MY medical only case has turbned into a permenent total claimant whowas making over $100,000 per year to living under $30,000 per year after going through 10 years of litagation that cost me my job, career, home, wife, family, etc.. leaving me in constant pain which created a sleep disorder progressing into a fatigue disorder making it impossible to take care of myself and in ridicule of the public since my injuries are not visible. But everytime somebody (like Rush Linbaugh) uses them for pleasure and then doesn't have the discipline to stop using it so people like me who NEED the pain killers because we have no other alternatives because the insurance company has taken them away from me legislatively can't get our prescriptions filled. As soon as something comes out about pain killers the government overreacts and causes a shortage in medicine for me when they know exactly who is prescibing these pills illegally. Please do a news story about people like me who need these pills to stay alive or have to consider suicide since I don't drink and don't think I could stay that drunk 24-7 for the rest of my life since I can't get the medical care I need. I went from being moderately well off financially to being poor and incapable of taking care of myself due to the insurance companies refusing to provide me with proper medical care. I had all sorts of insurance available to me since it was a auto accident but because I was working at the time of the accident, I was legally barred from using my group health, auto PIP or any other coverage since WC is primasry by State Law. Some body should be doing a story on the WC industry whereas the insurance carriers are claiming fraud by claimants when in fact they are defrauding us as claimants who need our benefits. The laws have been changed to under pay attorneys who represent WC claimants and make the attorneys legally liable for their clients actions if they make a fraudlent claim. Since 1990 to 2009, over 80% of WC attorneys have quit providing that service or have to supplement their income with another type of service that will pay their bills since they don't receive enough payment handling WC claims.

  6. sounds like you needed a better attorney and a better pain care doctor. I have found pain relief from the use of Duragesic Patches. I had to fly to Houston for many years in order to find a pain care doctor that would prescribe them but thankfully there are now competent pain care doctors in my state who are helping me with my pain by prescribing Duragesic patches. If it weren't for those patches, I too would be another suicide statistic.
    The pain care doctors go thru rigorous nitpicking from the drug enforcement agency (DEA) to where most don't consider becoming a pain care physician because of the hoops they have to jump thru and the microscope they are put under for providing such a crucially needed service.
    I am so thankful for having found a pain care specialist and I dread the day he retires; I don't know what I will do. I hope that someone will step up and fill his shoes. I hope you find a compassionate doctor that will help you with your pain issues.

  7. Around 1995, the Florida Consumer Action Council tried to enter a class action lawsuit against mental health services in Broward County for abuse of the mental health consumers (ST.vs Chiles). It was quashed, even though the abuses were massive, because abuse is one on one, not class action. I saw one anonymous comment that they could see that those who have real pain are being neglected, while the criminal element seems to have unlimited access to these prescription pharmaceutical chemicals. These are not illegal drugs, these are legitimate treatments for pain. When you use terminology like 'hillbilly heroin' or 'hospital heroin (hydrocodone)', some smart Alec is going to put street drugs in counterfeit pills and open up a shooting gallery. We need to tighten up our language in the legal department, and the medical facilities, and keep the two separated properly so we don't get confused about which is which.


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